Digital Engagement: The Tactics You Need to Do it Right
When creating an online digital presence like building a new website, it’s more crucial than ever to consider the user experience. Convenience and ease-of use are becoming more and more important in the age of well-designed websites and applications like Airbnb, Spotify, or Uber.
In response, government organizations have expanded their staff to include professionals who are knowledgeable in user design and user experience. At this year’s Digital Communications Summit in Washington D.C., Granicus’ Vice President of Solutions Consulting, Andy Krzmarzick, led a panel on solving problems unique to government and how they work to improve the levels of citizen engagement in their communities. Krzmarzick was joined by Kit Hagen, UI and Web Support for the City of Richmond; Trevor Johnson, Online Manager in Prince William County; and Raymond Drake, Web Content Editor at U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Services Office of Communications. The panel shared some of their best tips on how government agencies can work to improve experience and engagement on digital platforms.
Make Your Website Easy to Navigate
Kit Hagen shared her experiences in working to make the City of Richmond’s websites more navigable and user-friendly while also growing the level of citizen engagement within her community.
“We’ve been very successful with engaging people,” she says, in regard to usage of Granicus products. Keeping them engaged, however, “was a very wide and varying problem.” Defining goals, such as higher click-through-rates and engagement numbers, and tracking metrics, however, has been helpful.
Break Down Silos
Trevor Johnson with Prince William County shared a similar experience. “We operated in these silos, and often the needs of the end user weren’t being met.” After creating a new type of team focused solely on online communications, comprised of experts in their respective fields, they were able to work toward a larger goal or increasing citizen engagement. They focus on collaboration between departments, which benefits end-users by allowing departments to work together to accomplish tasks without confusion for the end-user.
Invest in What Works
Raymond Drake, Web Content Editor at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Office of Communications, was originally brought to his organization to run social media, but at the time, there was no social media to run. With time and persistence, however, they were able to get multiple accounts running.
But social media wasn’t telling the whole story or connecting on a large scale to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Services Office’s audience. This is why they decided to explore email communications tactics. By leveraging email, subscribers were able to sign up for specific items they were interested in without being constantly bombarded by emails. “The ability to segment the audience and reach them in real time is very useful to us,” says Drake.
Each panelist had faced the challenge of getting buy-in from stakeholders while still maintaining their focus on the end-user. Balancing these two things is one of the fundamental parts of building a website. Overcoming this challenge is a process, and means that having the right tactics and direction for your organization can make all of the difference.